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Jagjit Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh

I was born in UK, and have one elder brother. He always had Kes, and I was a mona. My father in 1987 kept his Kes, and a year later both my mother, who know started wearing a keski, and father both took Amrit. Both have always kept good Amrit velas, and it changed the atmosphere in the home. They were always ideal role models for us.

When I was 11, I wanted to keep my Kes, but with no Sangat of my age, I found it difficult. As I grew up, all my friends were into drinking, later smoking and spiff. None of this attracted me, and I only drank infrequently, and only small amounts. We used to go to gigs a lot, but always there were fights, between us and other groups of Punjabis, or Muslims. I was about 16 then. The last straw for me was when at one gig. I saw a lad, who I did not know, got jumped and beaten severely. All of his mates ran away. I felt sorry for him, so I hauled off the boys who were beating him up. His head was cut, and the bouncers put him out. He was lying there on the floor. I said to him I will take him to hospital, but he would not have it. So I took him home. All my mates said leave him, he is not our concern. But I took him by myself. After dropping him off, I went home on the tube. I looked down at my clothes; they were covered in his blood. I just thought, what is this rubbish, and what am I doing in these crowds. I never went to a gig again.

A few months later, my father took me to my first youth programme in Watford hall. Shivcharan Singh was doing a talk, which was good. Then a young lad came up to me and gave me a leaflet for Khalsa camp 1992. He was a mona, just like me, and he said come, it will be a laugh. So I signed up. The Khalsa camp was excellent, it was the first time I had met young Sikhs. I met people from my town like Onkar and Hardip there for the first time. During the camp, on one day, during the lectures, a message came thorough. Apparently a really famous Singh in India had just become Shaheed. The Singh doing the lecture, who was in full bana, almost came to tears. The whole room went quiet. I did not have a clue what was going on. Then one Singh said there will a rainsbhai tonight in memory. I did not know what a rainsbhai was, but the guy next to me told me it was his first as well, and they are meant to be really good. The rainsbhai was fantastic, we got there at 9, and the next thing I knew it was 6 in the morning. It was my first experience of Kirtan, and I got addicted. For the first time, I had felt such inner glow.

After the camp, I went back to my friends. I never thought about keeping Kes, it just automatically happened. I just never shaved again. All my friends tried to stop me from keeping Kes. They would spend hours talking to me, telling me, I had everything they wanted. I had the clothes, the car, and all the girls they wanted were friendly with me. But I said, it always never meant anything to me. The girls would say to me, it’s just a phrase, we will get you back. None of them understood. That lifestyle is not what makes me happy inside. At weekends instead of going out with them, I was now going to Kirtan programmes wherever I could.

After I had not been out with them a few weeks, they all started on me. Plus I was now wearing a small Dastaar. They said I have to go out with them that weekend. After much pressure, I agreed. We went out, a large number of us. Tradition was after a night out, everyone went to this shop where they did chicken kebabs. We had done this for years. Sitting there surrounded by all my friends, watching them each chicken, for the first time, I felt a deep pain inside. The kind of pain, when you know something is wrong, or someone in front of you is swearing or doing ninda. "So I said to all of them, I think I will leave. I do not wish to spoil your pleasure, but I cannot sit and watch you eat meat. It hurts me. “That was the last time; I ever went out with them. All of us are close even till today. We all went to the same uni. They wanted me to stay with them in their house. But I never wanted to impose my rules on them, so I commuted instead. We all had an understanding. They knew, whenever I was around, they could not smoke, drink, eat meat, swear, talk about girls or boys in wrong way, or do ninda. They knew I never said anything, I would just walk away, but they did it just to make stick around. I never left my friends; I just changed the way we interacted with each other. They knew never to ask me to go anywhere against Gursikhi.

I now came across Bhai sahib jis autobiography. I always used to read, it was a passion of mine. I read a lot of books on Sikhi. But this was revelation for me. I had never realized that this level of thinking and calibre of Gursikh ever existed. It pushed my own perception of Sikhi higher ten fold. Bhai sahib jeevan brought home to me how important a jeevan actually is, and not just ritualistically going to Gurdwaras. Never had my mind contemplated going into Sikhi so deeply before.

I spent most of my time in Sangat, especially jatha. In UK, we have a youth scene, but I always found them hard to understand. I saw the same thing in them that I saw in elders generally. They all talked about not doing it, politics, backstabbing, power trips, but did it anyway. Plus I was not into Sikhi for that, just into it for Kirtan, my mum, Sangat, and Panth. I saw many youth coming into Sikhi going from pillar to post. One day in jatha, the next with a sant, the next with taksal, the next with feds, etc. I thought this was like in gurbani, what we say "patak the". Searching and going everywhere, yet obsessed by staying neutral. They all say we do not get into politics, we are neutral. I personally thought these neutral people are more into politics that anyone else, otherwise how do they know what is neutral and what is not. I personally felt very lucky, that Maharaaj gave me a path where I avoided all politics, double-mindedness, controversies, groups, etc. Guru Maharaaj himself took me from day one to the source of Gurmat, Shabad guru, Kirtan and path. Never have I ever felt the need for anything else. I am truly content with bani. No sants, youth leaders, keertanis, jathedars, have ever attracted me, neither have I ever ran after anyone. Bani is my Guru, and all I ever needed.

One day, a friend said to me, there is an Amrit Sanchaar in Slough. Are you not going to take Amrit? I had never even considered it, but after much thought, and reading Amrit ki Hai, by Bhai sahib, I thought now is the time. So I got prepared. On my interview first, the Panj asked me a lot of questions to see if I was ready. A lot of youth at uni age were doing wrong things, and they wanted to be sure that I was strong in Gurmat. The Panj set me a condition, the once I got Naam, I would got to a Gursikhs house who lived near me everyday for 3 months and do Amrit vela with him. I agreed.

Outside the Amrit Sanchaar, Bhai Rama Singh Ji came and sat with me. he smiled and said he was happy I was taking Amrit. He was getting pesh, because he had just had his heart transplant. He spent a lot of talking to me about Amrit, priceless thoughts, and then said, the more bhagtee we do now, the more impact Amrit will have on us. We sat there doing mool mantar. After many hours we were called in for Amrit. Bhai sahib said to me, when the Panj Pyare prepared Amrit concentrate on the bowl, while listening to the bani. Do not move your eyes from it. So I did. It was very hypnotic. Amrit was a very powerful emotion for me. Things happen that I cannot describe, twice I fell unconscious. Such was the strong energy inside, but the complete peace in my mind. I felt sad, when I hear of youth, who tell me they went and took Amrit from sants, and felt nothing. They did not know Gurmantar, and did not value Amrit. I felt so fortunate that maharaj gave me everything, I never had to search for it.

The condition of the Panj was excellent. For 3 months or more, I did Amrit vela with this Gursikh. He took me to spiritual highs I can never describe. Some days I felt lazy, and he would phone, encouraging me to come as soon as possible. It was only then after this period of abyass after Amrit, that I realized how amazing Naam and how powerful it is.

The youth around me used to tell me amazing stories about Sikhs they had met. I had never met anyone. So one night I did ardas, Maharaaj let me have darshan of all your chosen Sikhs. Not to follow, because bani was everything, just out of interest. I had already met Bhai Rama Singh, a most amazing soul. Within weeks, I met Bhai Jeevan Singh, Giani Nahar Singh, and Bhai Raghbir Singh. I went to Canada, and met so many amazing souls, and also to India, in particular Delhi Smagam. The magnetism of naam in India is just profound. There are so many special jeevans in the Panth, it is just a shame, we spend most of lives with our eyes closed, and not realize their existence.

For many years, everything was perfect. I was surrounded by Sangat, Kirtan, and Naam. Even though we were always involved in Panth, politics never affected me, because of this shield of naam. Praise was everywhere, and I felt invincible. Not out of haumai or pride, just because I always felt Guru Ji's hand on my head. Then suddenly, something happened which changed everything. I did not feel I had done anything wrong, just the circumstances and environment Guru I put me in, had changed. At first I felt deep depression, because I had never been away from Sangat. But then I realized, this was just another test, a very hard one, something to overcome. Guru maharaj had showed me Sikhi in a certain way, now I was been shown it in another. I realized how unimportant I am, and never to expect anything from anyone. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji bani said so much to me about what I was going through. Bani was the only thing I had ever felt faith in, and it was always there for me. Maharaaj walked me through that time. I learned more about Gurmat, my inner self, my failings through this than anything else. Now in hindsight, I am glad I went through that. It made my faith so much stronger. It took me nearer to what I wish to achieve and become. Maharaaj is so amazing, one can do nothing but submit in front of him.

Two years ago, I met a friend, a Muslim who converted to fundamental Islam, when I got into Sikhi. He said he was surprised I was still into Sikhi. I said why, and asked why he was not into Islam anymore. He said "I went into Islam, because it was cause for me. Chechnya, Palestine, etc. Muslims being killed everywhere. After time it faded. The prayers are good but it faded." I replied "we have causes in Sikhi as well. But Sikhi was never a cause for me. It is a lifestyle. Sikhi is about becoming a better person. That is something that will take all of my lifetime to do. I am in it for life. One can never stop being a better person".

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh